Opening up the Internet root to hundreds of new Top Level Domains (TLDs), where before the choice in domain name suffixes (the label after the dot) was extremely limited, is ambitious indeed.
The goal is a lofty one: bringing greater context, more precision and more effective navigation to users dependent on Web addresses to find the content they want. But unless people know of the Internet’s TLD expansion, its chances of success are limited.
Increasing public awareness of these new suffixes (dubbed “new gTLDs”) is a constant challenge for the businesses involved in giving the world’s information superhighway signposts that are both more numerous and better indicators of the content they are pointing to.
Companies like StartingDot, operator of the .ARCHI, .BIO and .SKI new gTLDs. And Google. The search giant is very much a part of this attempt to bring users more choice at the Internet’s Top Level.
To help developers understand how they can best work with new gTLDs and test their applications for compatibility Google launched Domain Test as an open source project open to all new gTLD operators.
The service is also designed to allow testing of new country-code top-level domains (ccTLDs) and internationalized domain names (IDNs), i.e. Internet suffixes written in non-Latin characters such as Arabic or Cyrillic. “These gTLDs have a series of characteristics, such as string length and the use of non-Latin scripts, that can cause bugs in software,” says Google. “Domain Test helps developers identify and fix these problems.”
Domain Test is freely available to use or modify, and is operated under the Apache 2 license, the service runs on AppEngine.
StartingDot has included all 3 of its TLDs in the Domain Test initiative. “Our TLDs look to serve specific communities,” the company explains. “Their operating rules and procedures were designed from the get-go to provide the architecture, snowsports and organic/biography communities with Internet labels that suit their needs. Joining the Domain Test initiative is just another step in the same direction for us. The more Web developers understand these TLDs, the more the aforementioned communities are likely to be able to benefit from them.”